South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir has said his government’s top priority is to restore peace and unity among all South Sudanese communities.
The president was addressing worshippers on Christmas Day at the St. Theresa Cathedral in Juba.
“We must recommit ourselves to the course of peace, and extend a hand of unity and friendship across all the divides in the country,” he said.
We must recommit ourselves to the course of peace, and extend a hand of unity and friendship across all the divides in the country
Referring to the recent signing of the cessation of hostilities agreement in Addis Ababa, Kiir said this was a sign of commitment to ending the violence in the country.
He confirmed that he had issued orders for the immediate implementation of the ceasefire agreement in a bid to guarantee the safety of civilians and humanitarian services in the world’s youngest nation.
The ceasefire agreement took effect on Sunday amidst accusations of breach of the agreement from all parties involved.
South Sudan govt, rebel groups sign IGAD ceasefire deal in Ethiopia https://t.co/npy7MjeeMn
— africanews (@africanews) December 22, 2017
Kiir said his government is willing to continue negotiations with the opposition factions in good faith, so as to realise peace.
“I trust that our partners are also negotiating in the same good faith for the benefit of all citizens in South Sudan,’‘ said President Kiir.
“The sooner we can come to the final and meaningful agreement, the sooner we can re-energise the implementation process and get South Sudan back on the path of prosperity,” he said.
President Kiir further expressed hope that the revitalisation forum, which ended in Addis Ababa recently, would pave the way for the reconstruction of South Sudan and for the restoration of the economy.
Diplomats at the Addis talks had told Reuters that the next phase of the negotiations would centre on thrashing out a revised power-sharing arrangement leading up to a new date for polls.
South Sudan which attained independence in 2011, has been in war for four years now following a political fallout between president Kiir and his then deputy president Dr. Riek Machar.
More than 100,000 people have lost their lives in the conflict, according to the International Crisis Group.
Over 2 million South Sudanese have become refugees, while another one million people remain internally displaced, according to the UN.